In the early days of the Downs Family Christmas lights, news was passed mostly by word-of-mouth. Neighbors would tell others, news spread at churches and workplaces and some media outlets.

The annual display, now in its eighth year, draws thousands of central Oklahoma residents. The home is on 72nd Avenue SE, south of State Highway 9.

Visitors stay in their vehicles, synchronize their car radios with the display’s music, and are asked to donate money or food to the Regional Food Bank. It’s similar to a drive-in movie, only shorter and more high-tech.

In 2012, display visitors donated $30,794 and dropped off 10,318 pounds of food. This year, Kimberli and Chuck Downs put up the display early as part of filming for “The Great Christmas Light Fight.”

Their display will be featured at 8 p.m. Dec. 23. The national exposure can’t hurt the project which helps the food bank. This year’s display opened Thanksgiving evening. Here’s some advice: Go see it now before the crowds get wind of it.

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